As the evening sun begins to retreat behind the mountains it grants one last gaze into the cove at the foot of Gauley Mountain. The soft light spreads through the forest floor as wood and stone are bathed in the cascade of Cathedral Falls. The oxygen charged air within the natural cathedral enhances the sense of peace as I cross the wooden footbridge. Time itself seems to slow to a halt as the elements of nature coalesce into my frame. It’s been said that God first set the word of His testimony into nature. I believe that is true because as I look at the beauty He created for us to live in his love for us is written on every stone, carved into every tree, bound into every drop of water and energized by every ray of light. With my spirit renewed in this natural sanctuary it’s time to replace the cap on my lens and return to the big blue truck and head home.
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The gently babbling water flows over the rocks. In the shallow pools small fish dart under cover as my shadow crosses in front of them. Dragonflies and Damselflies zip around and occasionally hover. A small crayfish crawls from one pool to another. Somewhere behind me the distinct sounds of a woodpecker hammering away at an old snag echoes through the mountains.
I step carefully as I approached the spot where I will place my tripod. I am in a public park but the copperheads don’t understand that everyone is welcomed here and I’d rather not suffer another bite. Satisfied that I’m not disturbing a sleeping serpent, I begin to set up my camera. The twin falls of Glade Creek are one of our most popular places. They’re certainly not the highest falls in West Virginia but there’s something about the perfect symmetry that’s irresistible. The sun is high in sky and I want the water to come out nice and silky so I make the appropriate adjustments and set the timer hoping that the children playing nearby can stay out frame for just a few more seconds. This was ten years ago and it was one of my first with a real camera. The result is still one of my favorite images today.
Have you ever had that feeling that you were being watched? I’m often amused by the reaction of wildlife when the human walks into their domain as if he owns the place. I’ve noticed that animals seem to go out of their ways to watch the people. The little moth in the feature image it only wondered out of her hiding place in broad daylight but actually landed in font of my lens and leaned out from the blade of grass as if to say “peek-a-boo!”. We expect our pets to have a personality and it’s not surprising to see larger mammals exhibit playfulness but I never expected that from an insect. She did her little peeking routine for me a few more times and then fluttered back into the trees. I hope my next excursion into nature is just as fruitful.
By special request of my dear friend Sophia Ismaa I’m going to share with you the waterfall at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.
I was asked to describe the atmosphere of the scene.
As the late fall sun eases it’s way West the crystal clear blue sky fades into a soft purple in the Eastern direction and a golden band on the Western skyline. The shadows of the Great Smokey Mountains began to grow long as the crowd makes it’s way from shop to shop in the little tourist village. Pigeon Forge is a showcase for Appalachian artists. Paintings, pottery and woodworking can be found in almost every shop. The breeze carries wonderful aromas wafting from the Old Mill which is now a restaurant. As we make our way down to the Pigeon River below the mill the sound of falling water overcomes the clamor of crowd in the streets above. The golden sun is now disappearing behind the mountains and the streetlights are starting to come to life. This is magic hour and I have the power to freeze time.